The Nature Foundation is pleased to offer a handful of internships to undergraduate and recently graduated university students each year.

Seagrass Monitoring Internship Position with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten

Goal:


The goal of the sea grass monitoring is to determine the status and distribution of seagrasses on Dutch Sint Maarten. Different methods will be used; the possibilities are to use a drop camera to determine seagrass distribution and species composition, scuba diving or snorkeling surveys to determine seagrass height, density, cover or abundance, and satellite imagery to determine distribution and area coverage of sea grasses on Sint Maarten. Part of the position is developing seagrass outreach and educational sources and assisting with other activities, projects and tasks of the Nature Foundation.  

Requirements:

  • The student is currently studying with a University in a biology, ecology or marine biology related field (students in Masters programs or final semesters of Bachelors will be given preference)
  • The project research needs to be part of the student’s work for the semester and they must have access to an Internship Coordinator or Faculty Advisor during the period of the internship
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Scuba diving certifications: Candidates must have PADI Advanced Open Water certificate or a similar certification and the minimum of 30 logged scuba dives or the Intern need to have a PADI Open Water certificate or a similar certification with the minimum of 50 logged scuba dives
  • The student needs to be able to handle hard and challenging working conditions. The working conditions out at sea can be physically demanding and exhausting. St. Maarten sea conditions are often considered rough and challenging, with high waves and choppy waters. Able to handle significant movement of the Foundation’s Marine Park Boat, as it is a small boat of 26-foot long.
  • Pro-active, responsible, reliable and independent working attitude
  • The Intern will need to take out a valid medical, travel their personal DAN (Divers Alert Network) insurance covering research diving for the period of his or her Internship at the Foundation.

Terms:

  • Time period of the internship will be 5-6 months in 2023, starting in January of 2023.
  • This internship has both a travel stipend and small monthly housing compensation included.   
  • The intern position is full-time based, Nature Foundation working conditions will be applicable to the student.

Background Info:

Seagrass is one of the most important ecosystems on this planet, vital to the overall health of the ocean. It provides food and shelter for many different underwater creatures. It helps in coastal protection and is a big player in the fight against climate change. Currently we are not aware of the status of St. Maartens’ native sea grass species Thalassia testudinum (turtlegrass) and Syringodium filiforme (manatee grass). An elaborated study needs to be conducted in order to research the distribution and abundance of these two native sea grass species. However, another invasive seagrass species needs to be researched; Halophila stipulacea native to the tropical and subtropical waters of the Red Sea. Currently it is spreading through the Caribbean since its first documentation in Grenada in 2001 and has now been reported around most Caribbean islands including St. Maarten. Around the Caribbean the invasive sea grass has been spreading rapidly affecting native sea grass beds and probably the food chain of several species relying on sea grass beds such as conch and sea turtles. The abundance and distribution of this invasive sea grass species needs to be researched on St. Maarten. The Nature Foundation would like to research the status, distribution and/or abundance for these three seagrass species in the shallow waters of St. Maarten. Scuba diving surveys, drop cameras and satellite imagery could be used in order to determine species composition, status and distribution.

Interested students can send their curriculum vitae and motivation letter to Leslie at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

Sea Turtle Monitoring Internship Position with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten

Goal:

The goal of the sea turtle monitoring internship program is to provide consistent data of yearly nesting activity for sea turtles on the island of Dutch Sint Maarten. Activity will include daily beach monitoring, incident reporting, activity tracking, outreach and awareness works, and a final research report due at the completion of the internship period. Reporting produced by these activities is used to help gain better protections for these species on the island of St. Maarten and therefore must be done with care and diligence. Interns will also be expected to take part in Foundation events and activities.

Requirements:

  • The student is currently studying with a university in a biology, marine biology, ecology, tourism, sustainable development or related field (students in Masters programs or final semesters of Bachelors will be given preference)
  • The project research needs to be part of the student’s work for the semester, and they must have access to an Internship Coordinator or Faculty Advisor during the period of the internship
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills in English
  • An interest in nature, conservation, and research is essential for potential candidates
  • Candidates with Scuba Diving Certifications and experience will be given preference
  • The student needs to be able to handle hard and challenging working conditions. The working conditions out at sea can be physically demanding and exhausting.
  • Pro-active, responsible, reliable, and independent working attitude
  • The Intern will need to take out a valid medical, travel their personal DAN (Divers Alert Network) insurance covering research diving for the period of his or her Internship at the Foundation.
  • Candidates must have a valid drivers license

Terms:

  • Time period of the internship will be 5-6 months in 2023, starting in January of 2023.
  • The internship is unpaid; the intern will not receive an Internship allowance or reimbursement of expenses from the Foundation. The Foundation furthermore does not cover any accommodation costs, other financial compensations or travel costs.   
  • The intern position is full-time based, Nature Foundation working conditions will be applicable to the student.

Background Info:

St. Maarten is home to four documented species of sea turtle (family Cheloniidae): the green, hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead. Both resident and migratory populations of sea turtles are found in St. Maarten. While some individuals live and forage off the island’s shore permanently, others travel only to St. Maarten to nest and lay their eggs. Most sea turtles in St. Maarten come ashore in the night to nest between the months of April and November. However, individual females may lay eggs slightly earlier or later in the season. In 2022 there was significant nesting activity during the months of January and February. All four sea turtle species found in St. Maarten’s waters are globally threatened or endangered. 

The Nature Foundation actively manages and monitors the sea turtle nesting activities on St. Maarten since 1999. Endangered leatherbacks, hawksbills, and green sea turtles come ashore to nest each year. We conduct various activities regarding nesting, including beach surveys, nest excavations, tagging activities, and nest success research.

Interested students can send their curriculum vitae and motivation letter to Leslie at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.

Outreach and Awareness Internship Position with the Nature Foundation St. Maarten

Goal:

Awareness and access to information is a key component to the success of all conservation efforts. To better support the work of the foundation and its staff we are now recruiting an intern who will be focused on outreach and awareness tasks and activities. The goals of this position will be to evaluate the current efforts of the foundation then develop and implement an outreach plan during the period of the internship. Several methods will be used including but not limited to; social media, press releases, youth events, events for residents and tourists, collaboration with the private sector, etc.

Requirements:

  • The candidate should be a current student in a Bachelors or Master’s program with an interest or focus on one of the following conservation, conservation management, policy development, conservation education, communications, or another related field.
  • Candidates should have a thorough understanding of many social media platforms and some basic design knowledge
  • Candidates with knowledge of WordPress Website Management will be given preference
  • The student is interested in conservation and nature protection focusing on education and/or management.
  • The applicant must have strong verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • The applicant must have a pro-active, responsible, reliable, flexible, and independent working attitude.
  • The intern will need to take out a valid medical and travel insurance for the period of his or her Internship at the Foundation.
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Terms:

  • Time period of the internship will be 5-6 months in 2023, starting in January of 2023.
  • The internship is unpaid; the intern will not receive an Internship allowance or reimbursement of expenses from the Foundation. The Foundation furthermore does not cover any accommodation costs, other financial compensations or travel costs. 
  • The intern position is full-time based, Nature Foundation working conditions will be applicable to the student.

Background Info:

The Nature Foundation was established in 1997 and is the management and scientific authority for both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of St. Maarten. Our work is focused on three key pillars; preservation, research, and education surrounding the natural resources of the island. The education component of the work done by the foundation is key to creating community support and interest in preserving the biodiversity and thereby strengthening the resilience and sustainability of island St. Maarten.

Interested students can send their curriculum vitae and motivation letter to Leslie at manager@naturefoundationsxm.org.